The most dramatic moment of Thursday night’s Redskins game came during the lengthy review of Brandon Banks’s 95-yard punt return for a touchdown, when it appeared that Banks might have flipped the ball out of his hand before crossing the goal line, which would have been among the most agonizing preseason instant-replay reversals of all time.
As the replay dragged on and you imagined the sorts of things Mike Shanahan might do to Banks if the touchdown was nixed, Joe Theismann got to talking. He said a lot of words. The video is here, but NFL rules prohibit me from embedding it, so I’ll provide a transcript, with emotional cues.
“Does he have possession of the ball when he crosses the goal line?” Theismann asked. “I don’t care if you’re a hot dog. Do whatever you want. But make sure you’re in the end zone.
“This is coming back,” Theismann said. “He is NOT in the end zone. He does NOT have possession of the ball when he crosses the goal line, and that’s just downright BAD football sense. That’s a nice job of officiating, and being a hot dog doesn’t get it done. I will say this, I betcha he learns his lesson after this one.”
“Is it so hard, at this day and age, to run the ball into the end zone?” Theismann asked. “I mean, I don’t think football has changed that much where you don’t want to score touchdowns. It’s so simple. It’s SO simple. I mean, you know, why don’t you run, you know what, if you run around and hand it to an official you don’t have to worry about something like this. It’s stupid. It’s stupid hot dogging. See that smile that Mike Shanahan had before? Not smiling now.
“It’s just guys all of a sudden they get near the goal line and it’s like their brain stops working,” Theismann said. “Here’s another thing, I don’t understand where teammates come up and congratulate a guy for being stupid. Fred Davis can laugh about it; Donte Stallworth they can laugh about it. They’re not the ones that did it. This kid’s trying to make the football team. The problem is it’s not a touchdown.”
“You know, that’s fine,” Theismann said. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, make sure you’ve got the ball in your hands or else you won’t get a TD.”
“Instead you’ll get a TB, a touchback, Tampa Bay football,” Kenny Albert pointed out.
“That’s right, finished my little poem off,” Theismann said.
“I’ll tell you what, he is electric though,” Theismann said. “I mean, he really, really is. Maybe this will be a great lesson for Brandon Banks. This could be the one play that changes his career.”
“Ooh. WOW. Wow,” Theismann said, after the touchdown was upheld. ”Too close for comfort, though. Ahhh. Wheewwww. What relief that was for him. I want to take a look at that again.”
Banks was also on Comcast SportsNet’s post-game show, where Brian Mitchell started things off.
“You know what I’m gonna ask you, what the hell were you thinking going into that end zone man?” Mitchell asked.
“Aw man, I don’t even remember what I was thinking,” Banks said. “I didn’t even realize it was like that. I thought I was 10 yards in the end zone. It won’t never happen again, I promise.”